This was originally posted to Key23.net waaaaay back in the day. It was the subject of a terrible and ridiculous flame war. The result was that I have rarely discussed or written about magic since. Writing was never about posturing or being a writer to me. It was only about sharing ideas and experiences. The fact that I couldn't do that in a community of presumably like-minded individuals (who I mistakenly thought would be mutually supportive) without people getting personal with me was so demoralizing that I simply stopped. The only reason I am sharing this now is because someone that I care about and respect asked me to.
Golden Fiction: A Brief Discourse On Hypersigils
by Sor. Ceilede 789I've been asked repeatedly to expound on this topic as I refer to it in many communications with my fellow magicians. A short and succinct reply has not been forthcoming. I've found myself wallowing in material about a topic that is just too consuming and overwhelming, and too large! Truly, I could write an entire book about this process and my experiences with it. I even created a hypersigil about creating hypersigils! These difficulties aside, I know I must begin the dialogue somehow. I've done my best at paring down the information into something somewhat easily digestible.
What is a hypersigil?
Ever since Grant Morrison coined the term "hypersigil" as a means to describe his work with The Invisibles, it seems like people have been asking "what the heck is a hypersigil anyway?" I understood it right away because it is something I'd been doing for years without a name for the practice. First and foremost, a hypersigil is narrative magic. It is a story meant to cause change. The hypersigil has value as a personal and private narrative, but it can also be shared with others. In this way, the hypersigil becomes a meme that can function as an enchantment.
How stories have shaped us! Stories have kept us going all throughout the ages, whether they were clever tales known to be allegorical or those taken to be truth and turned into religion. The most powerful stories move us to do incredible things; sometimes miraculous and sometimes horrific.
How does a hypersigil differ from your average glyph or mantra type sigil?
A sigil is an abbreviated ritual. It contains all the elements of a good full-blown psychodrama. It has intent, symbolism, altered state of consciousness - all the things that are necessary for the purpose to be embedded into the subconscious and trickle down into the unconscious collective.
A hypersigil, then, is a ritual expanded far beyond the usual forms of glyph or psychodrama. A hypersigil is more than one sentence about desire, oftentimes representing a whole bundle of related desires. For this reason, hypersigils are excellent as a means of fueling transformative processes.
A simple glyph type sigil is usually meant to be charged and forgotten, whereas a hypersigil is meant to be dwelled upon as an ongoing creation ritual of daydream. The hypersigil functions as a two-way axis, images and symbols of desire being fed into the subconscious and received from the depths as flashes of insight and inspiration. A simple sigil is usually much more straight-forward. One throws the symbol of desire down the well, but does not necessarily draw the bucket back up to receive the Gnostic water.
How does one go about creating a hypersigil?
With the single-shot glyph-type sigil, you have a sentence of desire encoded into a symbol that the subconscious mind can absorb readily. With a hypersigil, the details of what you desire and what you intend as the outcome are encoded into elements of story.
A sorrowful woman who wants to free herself from the bondage of her oppressive life might symbolize herself as a beautiful bird locked inside a rusty cage. If she desires romance, she might tell of a handsome prince or adventurer coming to her rescue, overthrowing her cruel keeper and unlocking the cage.
My suggestion is that the magician sit down and outline what is desired. This is similar to defining a statement of intent, but wording doesn't seem quite as important here as with the ordinary sigil. Describing what is desired and what the outcome must be in the most precise way possible is simply prudent planning.
The magician then takes this paragraph or list of desire and turns it into a narrative. Let the story become as real to you as possible. See everything, hear everything, smell and taste and let it consume you on the inside. It is a controlled obsession you are looking for. It must have the quality of being overwhelming without actually overwhelming you. It must be a form of truth but not the ultimate truth. Using words to tell your story is the most obvious method, but it is certainly not the only method.
The altered state of consciousness necessary to fuel the story is the act of creation itself. If you've ever gotten consumed in the creation of something just for the sake of creation, you must know what I mean. In this state of kairos, you are not self-conscious. You are simply expressing. You become single-pointedly focused on the act of creation.
It may take a long time to get the elements of the story just right, and the story may never feel complete. Remember that this is often an ongoing process and it is okay not to be "done." Simply do your best to make sure the elements of the story feel right to you at an instinctual level. I strongly suggest that you employ some form of trance in which to receive dream symbolism relevant to your story. In my own practice, this became a kind of channeling in which I communed with characters in my stories.
What are some different types of hypersigils?
I've learned that the narrative magic of hypersigils can work in an incredibly wide variety of genre and media. I tend to use the fantasy, sci-fi or horror genres because these appeal to me the most, but there's no reason a romance, mystery or slapstick comedy couldn't work. My hypersigils usually take the form of intense daydreams, guided journeys, pathworkings and ecstatic Gnostic experiences relating to ongoing timelines on other planets. I've also created metarealities that intersect almost seamlessly with our consensus reality. However, hypersigil seems to lend itself well to the entire span of artistic expression. Music, plays, screenplays, poetry cycles,novels, sculpture - you name it, and I could describe the use with narrative magic. If you are an intensely creative person, you'll most likely find your hypersigils expressing themselves in more than one form. I've drawn pictures, brought back poetry and transcripts of conversations from my hypersigil worlds. I've injected knowledge about my metarealities into various online forums, and more.
I hope that this small and humble missive sheds some light on the practice of hypersigiling, and inspires further exploration into the mysteries of storytelling. Good luck.